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‘Critically evaluate the relationship between socially engaged art and cultural policy, making recommendations for policy change if appropriate’

The ‘Creative’ Ireland Project: Cultural Policy Agendas Collide with the Field of Socially Engaged Art


In a binary system epoch of a neoliberal hegemonized ideology, cultural policies impact socially engaged ‘art’ and its practice development through political and economic instrumentalisation. The unique art ideal of human creative expression continues to be subsumed by prosperous privatised institutions. Public art or social engaging art’s fundamental aims of political, societal, economic and environmental ‘change’ are disparate from the dominant neoliberalism art values, such as individualism, entrepreneurship, and self-employment due to the creation of participatory art in both fields. Ireland’s cultural policies acts concerning the arts and creative activities are influenced by the rise of ‘new labour’ in the United Kingdom (1997), activating the introduction of Ireland’s creative sector paradigm (Curren, 2010). Thereafter Ireland’s creative industry was awakened through the newly established UK Department for Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) (1998). The Irish government policy document entitled “Building Ireland’s Smart Economy” (2008) generated the economic goal of becoming an ‘innovative island’: leveraging the arts, culture and creative sectors as a world class business division, here Ireland’s creative industries will be primary economic contributors. Moreover Dublin Economic Development Action Plan (2009) highlighted the prominence of a ‘vibrant city’ and obtaining and conserving creative individuals in the city landscape (Curren & van Egeraat, 2010). The Global Creativity Index presents Ireland’s creative average intensity (creative occupations/all occupations in creative industries) as moderate, with a ranking position of 13th (Florida, 2015). Opportunities for enhancement are thus emerging through the market-driven creative occupation-based measurements.


‘Structural Changes to FE in Ireland have the Potential
to Transform Learning within Mainstream Education’

The ‘Lifelong-Learning’ Project: Ireland's Market-Driven Educational Paradigm

Contemporary and future ‘learning’ in Irelands educational network aims to be comprised of a thriving learner award attainment covering all levels in the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ). Consequently, Irelands goal is to secure leading academic achievement in the EU ranks, with political, economic, socio-cultural and technological prepared graduates is equally crucial from the growth of ‘learning’ through education. With the ascendance of Further Education (FE) in Ireland, the nation has plans to expand the lifelong learning (LL) participation rate to 10% by 2020 and 15% by 2025; as the current figure of 167,100 (2016) LL participants is subordinate to the EU 28 average of 11% (7%) and remain well behind the EU’s leading performers (Solas, 2017). In contrast, Ireland’s status in mainstream education performs reasonably with a ranking position of 9th out of the 28 EU countries, however regarding the LL aspect it is significantly below the hierarchical structure (20th) (Solas, 2017).

Several modifications have materialised within Irelands educational institutions over the past few years. At post primary level a revamped framework of the Junior Cycle (JC) was launched in September 2014, followed by a reformation of the points and grading system involved at Senior and JC. FE and Adult Education Training (AET) in Ireland is supported by the authority Solas. This organisation was established in 2013 alongside 16 Education and Training Boards (ETBs); together they distribute programmes and curricula to FE institutes. The primary objectives of FE and AET are to provide the necessary services for the up-skilling and re-training of primarily early-school leavers and post leaving certificate students.

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